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Qualitative approaches to clinician–patient communication 

Qualitative approaches to clinician–patient communication
Qualitative approaches to clinician–patient communication

Felicia Roberts

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date: 03 December 2020

Data collection techniques and qualitative approaches to analysis are described, along with relevant empirical studies of provider-patient communication in oncology and palliative care. A variety of frameworks are reviewed (ethnography, focus groups, grounded theory, conversation analysis, postmodernism), with differences in scope, focus, or fundamental philosophy addressed, along with the value of each approach for inductive research. Whatever the philosophical grounding researchers gravitate towards, these approaches are all interested in patients’ and practitioners’ beliefs, practices, and understandings of health and illness. They are attempting to derive participants’ understandings from the researcher’s detailed observation, description, and analysis of behaviour and artefacts. In addition to covering several qualitative approaches, the chapter also reflects on the ethical challenges facing researchers engaged in field-based studies. Finally, a brief discussion is offered concerning the trade-offs between reliability and validity in qualitative research.

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